Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 63
Various Pertinent Scripture References
We welcome each of you back for this half-hour of Bible study, and I merely invite our television audience to study the Scriptures with us. Don’t take my word for anything and for goodness sakes don’t take anybody else’s either. Instead, search the Scriptures and see if these things are really so. Learn to compare Scripture with Scripture. You can’t build doctrine on just a single verse, most generally.
All right, we’re going to get right back into where we left off in Genesis chapter 3. Again, we’re going to remind our audience that we’re doing a study on the eight covenants coming up through the Old Testament. Seven of them will be consummated before the Second Coming, and then the eighth one will be fulfilled when the Kingdom is set up.
Now, we’re going to come back to the second, the Adamic Covenant. We may get on to the next one, but for now, come back with me to Genesis chapter 3, and we’ll continue on in verse 17.
“And unto Adam…” Now, this is all part of God setting up the format for human existence for the next 6,000 years. This covenant has never yet been changed or reversed. It is still valid.
“…he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, (That is by eating of the tree.) and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; (Here it comes again; the result of the curse.) 18. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;” In other words, those things which grow naturally.
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, (In other words, he’s going to have to work for everything that he needs for his daily existence.) till thou return unto the ground; (That’s the picture of physical death.) for out of it (That is out of the dust of the ground.) wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Now, that pretty much sets the format for human existence under the curse.
Now remember, all of the world’s problems: all the world’s misery, famine, war, disease, suffering, and heartache are not God’s fault. It’s all brought in by the curse, and old Satan, of course, is the fomenter of it all.
Now, I think one of the best places I can take you into the New Testament to show you all of this would be Romans chapter 8. This says it so graphically. Let’s start at verse 18, where the Apostle writes:
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy (In other words, they’re nothing.) to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Now, I’ve got to stop there a second. How much does the Bible tell us about our future eternal heavenly experience? That’s right, almost nothing. You know, people have written, “Are we going to have homes? Are we going to have kitchens? Are we going to prepare food? Are we going to do this and do that?” Well, I just have to plead ignorance, because the Bible doesn’t tell us. We don’t know what we’re going to be doing. We don’t know what our circumstances will be. What will be some of the glories that God is preparing for us? Well, I usually answer, “Your guess is as good as mine.” Because I cannot show you from Scripture what we’re going to be doing, how we’re going to be doing it, or what. All I can say is, and some of you have heard me say it a hundred times, “It’s going to be glorious!”
But, now the other side of the coin, what’s it like under the curse? We can tell you that in the next verse.
“For the earnest (the very deep down, heartfelt) expectation of the creation…” All of creation, and I think I’m not stretching the envelope again to say that it involves the universe. I may be wrong, and I don’t mind somebody disagreeing, but I think creation means everything!
“…waiteth (patiently) for the manifestation (Or the bringing into the spotlight — of what group of people?) of the sons of God.” That’s you and I. We are the “born ones” (“children of God”) up there in verse 16.
So, all of creation is waiting for the day when you and I as believers are finally brought into that eternal environment with a new body, a resurrected body like Christ’s body. That is, of course, the triggering of the removal of the curse, when we are finally brought to our eternal place. All right, so all of creation is waiting for that.
“For the creation (the whole creation) was made subject to vanity,…” Well, vanity here means the results of the curse. Everything is fruitless. Everything is frustrating. Many times, even people who are relatively successful, are they happy? No. They’re miserable. You know I was reading, and I hope I’m not wrong here, but I think it was an account of Joe Lewis, who took in millions with his boxing career. Yet one of his previous opponents, Max Schmeling I think it was, had to pay for his funeral. Is that right? Okay, I’m glad I’m on the right track. Well, that’s classic of these people who take in millions, and yet they die paupers. Well, that’s the world we live in.
So the whole creation has been subjected to vanity and hopelessness. Why? Well, it wasn’t their fault. Creation didn’t do anything to bring about the curse. You and I didn’t do anything to bring about the curse. We’re merely the results of it. It all goes back to whom? Adam. Oh, I often wonder how much of that he is going to understand in eternity. How much is Adam going to realize that all of the world’s sorrows and sufferings were preempted by his act of disobedience. It was made subject to the curse.
“…not willingly, (Not because of what creation did.) but by reason of him who hath subjected the same (That is creation.) in hope.” So, you see, this is why we study Genesis chapter 3. Just as soon as Adam fell, and the curse permeated the world, what did God come right back with? What we saw in the last program, that “scarlet line of redemption,” to show mankind that the day would come when God would finally be superior and would overcome his adversary. All right, so the whole creation, now, is waiting for this hope that was released as soon as the curse fell. Now, verse 21:
“Because the creation (all of creation) itself also shall be (What?) delivered from the corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” In other words, everything that God has prepared for the believing element of the human race, even creation is going to enjoy the benefits of it. Of course, Isaiah 11 is a perfect example of that, where even the animal kingdom is going to come out from under the curse. Instead of killing each other for their next day’s food, they will all live in harmony, one with another. So it will be throughout creation. All the things that Satan disrupted by the curse, God is going to set straight and return it to what it was back in Genesis chapter 1, when he looked on the whole of creation, and what was His conclusion? “It was very good.” It was perfect. It’s going to revert to that one day, and we don’t think it will be much longer.
“For we know (you and I as believers) that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain (suffering and sorrow, all of it) together until now.” In other words, there’s really nothing that is of the good side in this life under the curse. Even those who seemingly have it so good, and we certainly reckon the fact that they do, they’re still under the turmoil and the suffering and the hopelessness of the curse.
“And not only they, (all the things of creation) but ourselves also, which have the first- fruits of the Spirit,…” Now again, he’s talking to you and I as believers who have the first-fruit of the Spirit, who have God’s saving grace.
“…even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” That change from this earthly environment to the eternal. Now, you know, that has been part and parcel of Paul’s teaching from day one.
While we’re in the New Testament, go forward with me to I Thessalonians chapter 1. If Paul’s believers back there in the first century were doing this, how much more relevant for you and I to be doing so today, because we’re 1900 and some years closer to all this than they were. All right, go to I Thessalonians chapter 1, and he is commending these Greek believers; these are Gentiles. This is Thessalonica which was up in Greece. He’s commending their faith and how that all the rest of the country of Greece was aware of these Thessalonians and their faith.
I Thessalonians 1:9a
“For they themselves (That is, their fellow Greek citizens.) show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye (Now I love this!) turned to God…” You’ve heard me emphasize this before. You want to remember the whole world, excepting parts of Israel, were steeped in idolatry. They knew nothing of the God of the Bible. Yet the Apostle Paul simply preached the Gospel that saved them, which is that Christ died for the sins of the world. That He was buried for three days and three nights and arose victoriously over sin and death. Simply preaching the Gospel, these people came out of that abject idolatry. All right, read on:
I Thessalonians 1:9b-10a
“…ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10. And to (What’s the next word?) wait (For what?) for his Son from heaven,…” The Rapture? Yes, that’s what they were looking for! That they, too, would be suddenly translated from earth to heaven, and as they were waiting then, how much more shouldn’t we be waiting today?
So, that will be the culmination, then, of the life under the curse, with all of its heartache, sin, wickedness, degradation, and what have you. But one day, it’s going to end. It’s going to be lifted, and the earth will be delivered from that satanic power.
All right, let’s come back again to Genesis and move ahead a little further. Genesis chapter 3 once again, the last part of verse 19, and here we have, as part of the covenant, the promise of God that man will receive physical death. Now, of course, Paul teaches that some of us will live to hear the “trumpet call.” But other than that, as Hebrews puts it, “it’s appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.” That is for most of mankind. All right, verse 19 again, as a result of the curse.
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” All right, that pretty much consummates the covenant made with Adam and sets the stage for the following years of human experience.
All right, let’s move up to the next one, quickly now, to the covenant made with Noah after the flood. They call it the “Noahic Covenant” and that will be in Genesis chapter 9. Actually, I guess we can start in the last couple verses of chapter 8. This is the next covenant. Now, you’ve got to remember what has intervened. By then we had almost 1600 years of the human experience under the curse, and the only stipulation was that if they realized or recognized their sin, they could bring an animal sacrifice, and God would accept them.
But, precious few adhered to that. So, for 1600 years the human race went down, down, down morally, even though we think they went up, up, up technologically. By the time we get to Noah’s flood, we have multitudes of people on the earth. I think it’s reasonable to assume that there were at least four billion or more. They’ve gone totally down the tube, morally and spiritually. Now then, God is going to move in and judge that generation with their destruction by the flood, and you all know that one.
But after the flood, God comes back, and He’s going to reestablish yet another covenant with mankind. Genesis chapter 8 and let’s start in verse 20, Noah comes off the ark with his three sons and their wives and his own wife, a total of eight people. The first thing he does is to build an altar.
“And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, (Remember, he took seven of every clean kind onto the Ark.) and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in His heart, (Now, here comes the covenant.) I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” Now verse 22, here’s the next part of the covenant.
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night (In other words, the functions of our seasons and so forth.) shall not cease.”
Now, the next part of the covenant, then, is going to establish what we call human government in order to maintain law and order. See, they had no government before the flood. There was no established system of religion as we’d call it today, so there was absolutely nothing to temper the evil bent of human beings. That’s why they went down so precipitously. There was absolutely nothing to slow it.
Now, even a pagan religion, when it comes to maintaining a social order, is better than nothing, because they’re at least going to teach them the concept of right and wrong and personal rights, I don’t care what the religion is. But, before the flood they didn’t have any of that. So, that’s why it became so despicable. All right, so now God is going to temper that activity with establishing the right of mankind to set up an authority to control the behavior of their fellow human beings.
“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you;…” This is a change in the dietary. Before the flood, they ate nothing but that which grew naturally. I don’t think that even the animal kingdom was yet as carnivorous as they became, but mankind, especially, was never given permission to eat anything that caused the loss of a life. But, now they can. Verse 3, this is a change.
“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” But here’s the stipulation, if they’re going to kill a living creature for food, they had to make sure that all the blood was removed.
“But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood therefore, shall ye not eat.” (So, this is obvious they are killing living things for food, but the admonition was to never eat it without draining the blood, because the blood was indicative of life.) Then verse 5, here comes the establishment of authority.
“And surely your blood of your lives will I require;…” In other words there’s going to be that deterrent to murder by promising that the guilty person would be put to death.
“And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man;…” Now, in a coming program, we’re going to be looking at some of the civil laws in Israel. It’s interesting how they covered every aspect of physical existence. In other words, the law stipulated that if I have a bull and I know he’s mean and I know he’s prone to attack, if I don’t confine him and he kills my neighbor, who’s guilty? I am. What’s the sentence? Death!
Now, that was under the law in Israel. They covered every aspect of the human experience in the civil law or in what the Scripture calls the judgments. Now you see, this is just the beginning of all that, because Israel’s law defined it in more detail. Here we have the responsibility of one human being to protect the life and the property of the other human beings around him. All right, verse 5 again:
“And surely your blood of your lives I will require; (See how plain that is?) at the hand of every beast…” Now, you know, it is interesting. I read a couple of years ago where there was a man-killing tiger running loose in India. After it had killed several children and so forth, it would always go back into the jungle. The government actually set up what we would call a posse searching for humans, and they did not stop looking until they had found it, I think it was a leopard, and killed it. Well why? Because it was guilty of killing human beings and God had mandated that. It’s for the protection of each and every individual. All right, so even of beasts God will require that if it kills a man they were to be put to death.
“…at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.” Now, that’s capital punishment. Now, I know the thing that bothers all of us, and it does me as much as anybody, is that possibility of putting to death an innocent person. We shudder at that. But, nevertheless, when it’s obvious that someone is guilty of murder, then the Scripture is plain. This has never been withdrawn. The Scripture is plain that the guilty person must be put to death, and we find that in Paul’s writing, also, in Romans 13:1-4. It is God’s only deterrent to chaos, for holding society together. Verse 6, I think, exemplifies it.
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, (In other words, someone who has purposely killed another human being.) by man (Man’s authority under the headship of God) shall his blood be shed: (Why?) for in the image of God made he man.” Man was made in God’s image. You see, this is – what should I say – intrinsic to western civilization, which has been influenced by Christianity and Biblical concepts more than the eastern world. This is why we have so much higher esteem for human life than a lot of the nations in Asia, China, and so forth, where life means nothing to them. It’s because they do not have this Biblical concept that the human being is made in the image of God, and we are to respect it with that in mind.
Now, the nation of Israel, and I don’t think there’s a race of people on earth that is as careful about the treatment of their dead as are the Jews. My, they won’t let a cemetery be uprooted. I know, because I read in the Jerusalem Post not too long ago that they were building a highway and a bulldozer happened to unearth some human bones. They had to stop. They would not let them continue with any more road construction until they determined that there were no more human bones in the area. Well, it just comes all the way back to this, this concept that the human being is made in the image of God, and, consequently, must be held up with that kind of an esteem.
All right, then as you go on into this covenant, here comes the best part of all, of course, and that jumps over to verse 9, in chapter 9, where God again says:
“And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, (Now, remember, God’s covenants are begun in God, they end with God. The human race has no room to barter or negotiate, God lays it down and that settles it.) and with your seed after you; 10. And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. 11. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the (What?) waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” Never again will God destroy the earth with water. Now, verse 12.
“And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: (This is still in vogue.) 13. I do set my bow (the rainbow) in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” As long as we see the rainbow, that’s God’s promise that He will never again destroy the whole earth with water.
Now, He will destroy it one day with fire, but He will never again send a flood upon the earth. We have this constant reminder of that every time you see the rainbow. You see, the reason this was such a unique promise is because before the flood it never rained on the earth. Consequently, there were no clouds to cause a rainbow as the earth was watered from beneath. But after the flood, the weather patterns come in and consequently we have rain, we have dark clouds, and we have the rainbow. It becomes, then, the covenant relationship between God and the planet earth and everything that’s in it.